The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the missile strikes launched by the United States on the Al-Shayrat air base in Syria are an adequate response to prevent a repeated use of chemical weapons against Syria’s civilians. This is a clear signal that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons is not to be tolerated.
On 5 April, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the chemical attack on civilians in the Syrian province of Idlib and called for an immediate investigation into the circumstances, urging that those responsible for such crimes must be held accountable.
At the same time, the Foreign Ministry hopes that the members of the UN Security Council will still be able to agree a resolution that would condemn the chemical weapons attack and make it possible to investigate the circumstances.
The chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government is a gross violation of international norms and law, including the Convention on Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. As a State Party to the Convention, Syrian government is responsible for compliance with obligations laid down in the Convention.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on all parties to the conflict to engage constructively in the UN-led process of intra-Syrian talks in order to achieve a political solution to the conflict pursuant to the 18 December 2015 UN Security Council Resolution 2245 on the peace process in Syria.
On 7 April, the United States Air Force launched cruise missile strikes targeting the Syrian Al-Shayrat military air base in Homs Governorate. According to U.S. public sources, Tomahawk land attack missiles had been launched from two U.S. Navy warships, USS Ross and USS Porter in the east of the Mediterranean.
The U.S. missile strikes came in response to the Syrian air force attacks on 4 April which targeted rebel positions in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, using chemical weapons. More than 80 civilians, including at least 30 children, were killed in the assault and several hundred others suffered injuries.
According to preliminary information, the U.S. missile strikes have been successful, since a large part of the air base support infrastructure and aircraft were destroyed, thereby considerably reducing the Syrian government’s capabilities of using chemical weapons.